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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast - Week 15
Paul Sandy
December 11 , 2007

QUARTERBACKS

1. Sage Rosenfels, Texans
Rosenfels might be the most talented backup QB in the NFL right now. Don’t be surprised if he gets a shot to compete for a starting spot with another club in the next couple years. He’s thrown at least one touchdown in every game in which he’s taken the field this year. He’s also 2-0 as a starter. Dynasty league owners, in particular, should consider giving Rosenfels a roster spot. He’s one backup QB whose value could skyrocket if he lands in the right situation as a starter — much like Jake Delhomme’s did several seasons ago. Keep an eye on Matt Schaub’s injury and don’t be afraid to plug in Rosenfels if Schaub sits.

Availability: Owned in ~10% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: With the RBs hurt, Rosenfels could throw 35-40 times and put up nice stats this week.

2. Trent Edwards, Bills
Edwards lit up the Dolphins for four touchdowns on Sunday. Before you dismiss the performance on the grounds that not all matchups will be as sweet a game at home versus Miami, take a look at the schedule. Buffalo gets the Browns next. Cleveland ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass and has allowed an NFL-high 32 passing scores. Edwards is worth a look if you’re in need of a one-week stopgap or if you’re in a consolation tournament and can afford to roll the dice on a risky QB. He should be good for a minimum of 200 yards and two scores.

Availability: Owned in ~10% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Edwards is worth a shot in deep leagues this week against the Browns and is a fine prospect in dyansty leagues.

RUNNING BACKS

1. Samkon Gado, Dolphins
It’s really amazing when you think about it. Gado was forced into action with the Packers a few seasons ago and lit it up. The following year he barely made the Packers roster and Green Bay ended up trading him to Houston. This year the Texans cut him. He landed in Miami, who also cut him. Then, Miami re-signed him because of an injury-depleted backfield. Gado ended up starting this week, and what did he do? He racked up 52 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Maybe he doesn’t practice well. Maybe he doesn’t possess prototypical speed or size. But the guy produces when given the opportunity. He’s a long-shot to post meaningful fantasy stats this week against the Ravens. Then again, Gado has always been a long-shot. Play him if you have no other viable alternatives and look for 70 yards and a score if he starts.    

Availability: Owned in ~10% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Gado has a good chance to score a TD or two versus the Ravens and is a decent RB2.

2. Darius Walker, Texans
Ron Dayne’s ankle is not in good shape according to head coach Gary Kubiak. With the Texans playing on Thursday, it seems unlikely that Dayne will be ready to suit up. Undrafted rookie Darius Walker figures to get the start if Dayne can’t go. Walker posted 81 all-purpose yards in spot duty in Week 14. If he gets the nod this week he’ll benefit from a nice matchup against the Broncos, who rank 29th in the NFL against the run. If you were counting on Dayne or you’re shorthanded at RB for other reasons, consider Walker a passable option (especially in points-per-reception leagues) 

Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Walker deserves a roster spot in deeper leagues and can be used as a starter this week if Dayne sits.

3. Kenton Keith, Colts
If you’re contending for a fantasy championship, you need to consider which NFL teams will be tempted to rest their starters in Week 16. By the end of this week, the Colts could very well be in a position in which they might not be able to improve or hurt their playoff seed. If that’s the case, don’t be surprised if they rest Joseph Addai and some of their other starters for much of the game. Reserve Kenton Keith could get the lion’s share of carries if his thumb is healthy enough. A matchup against the Texans could make Keith a sneaky play in that Week 16 game.

Availability: Owned in ~56% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Keith merits consideration by all owners in the championship mix.

4. LaMont Jordan, Raiders
Many owners gave up on Jordan because Justin Fargas had a stranglehold on the starting spot. Fargas went down with a rib injury against the Packers, so Jordan could again regain fantasy respectability. Fargas says his ribs are merely bruised and he expects to play. However, if you’re counting on him this week, Jordan is a must-have insurance policy. Fargas has a lengthy injury history and might opt out of this week’s game against the Colts if the ribs are bothering him.

Availability: Owned in ~56% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Think about picking up Jordan if you’re a Justin Fargas owner.

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Reggie Williams, Jaguars
Williams must have burned a lot of fantasy owners in previous seasons. He’s been red hot lately yet he’s still available in well over half of all fantasy leagues. Because they play in the AFC, which is loaded with high-octane offenses, Jacksonville doesn’t get much attention. The reality is they’ve averaged 28.3 points per game over the last seven games. Williams has been a big part of that. He’s scored a touchdown or put up 69+ yards in five of the last six games. Williams is also one of just 12 players who have seven or more touchdowns this year. Play him with confidence regardless of the matchup.    

Availability: Owned in ~38 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Williams is a solid WR3 this week even with a tough matchup against the Steelers.

2. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets
Some reports a couple weeks ago suggested Cotchery’s season was over following surgery on his finger. He was listed as doubtful heading into this week’s matchup against the Browns. As a result, many owners dumped him. After being fitted with a special cast on his index finger, Cotchery suited up and played on Sunday. He somehow managed to rack up 119 yards. With Laveranues Coles (ankle) laboring, Cotchery should continue to perform well. He deserves strong consideration this week against the Patriots. In his last three games against New England, Cotchery has posted two scores and averaged 82.7 yards per game.   

Availability: Owned in ~65 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Cotchery is healthy enough to play and should be owned in all leagues.

3. Anthony Gonzalez, Colts
Gonzalez has been mentioned by the Forecast a few times. He’s teased owners with the occassional big performance, but Sunday’s 134-yard, 2-TD effort solidified has status as “roster-worthy” in all fantasy leagues. Reports out of Indianapolis suggest the Colts might hold Marvin Harrison out of the lineup until the playoffs. As long as Harrison is out Gonzalez is a viable WR3 or flex player in fantasy leagues. He’s proven himself to be more than a mere possession receiver and is worth a start against the Raiders this week. Oakland ranks highly against the pass, but they’ve been relatively untested and were exposed by Brett Favre last week. Manning should fare equally well or better.  

Availability: Owned in ~30 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Gonzalez is good enough to start this week against the Raiders.

4. David Patten, Saints
Patten was hot midway through the year. Then he cooled off. Now he’s heating up again. By the end of the first half last night, he had already amassed 100 yards and a touchdown. With Reggie Bush likely out for the year, the Saints are looking a lot like the Seahawks. They’ve all but abandoned the run and are favoring the pass heavily. If that trend continues, and I think it will, Patten could be huge for the balance of the 2007 season. The Saints draw the Cardinals this week. Patten is usable for fantasy purposes in that matchup.

Availability: Owned in ~27 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Patten should be owned in deeper leagues and is playable this week against the Cards.

5. Jabar Gaffney, Patriots
I’ve done my best to ignore Gaffney. His production over the last few weeks defies all logic. The Patriots have so many weapons in the passing game who should be out-producing him (Moss, Welker, Stallworth, Faulk and Watson), yet he keeps putting up good stats. Gaffney has recorded a touchdown in three straight weeks. With matchups against the Jets and Dolphins up next, there’s a decent chance he continues to produce. Gaffney is an excellent WR4 or low-end WR3 at this point. 

Availability: Owned in ~3 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: It’s hard to believe, but Gaffney is a decent option this week against the Jets.

6. Derek Hagan, Dolphins
With the Dolphins playing from behind and starter Marty Booker hurt, the team relied on its passing attack and Derek Hagan extensively. Hagan was thrown to an NFL high 14 times in Week 14. He caught eight passes for 93 yards. No one has questioned Hagan’s talent, but he’s always had trouble with drops. If he begins earning the trust of John Beck or Cleo Lemon or whoever’s taking the snaps for the Dolphins this week, Hagan could continue to post nice stats. A matchup this week against a Ravens defense that is both wounded and heartless could yield another productive afternoon for Hagan.

Availability: Owned in ~27 of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Hagan is a reach but faces a decent matchup; he’s certainly worth acquiring in dynasty leagues.

TIGHT ENDS

1. Robert Royal, Bills
Royal seemed to have good chemistry with QB Trent Edwards on Sunday. Edwards threw his way four times, connecting on three receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Royal’s redzone presence is something that has been sorely lacking from the Bills offense this year. Both of the team’s starting wide receivers are undersized. Royal provides a big target for the young Edwards. The duo has an excellent opportunity to see continued success this week against the Browns. Cleveland has given up more fantasy points to TEs this season than any other team.  

Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Royal is a risky play but could come up big against the Browns.

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

1. Tennessee Titans
The Titans draw the Chiefs this week. Kansas City’s offense has been ice cold ever since Larry Johnson went down with a foot injury. The team has averaged just 11 points per game over the last five outings — never exceeding 17 points. In their last three games, Kansas City QBs have been sacked 16 times and picked off five times. Look for the Titans to expose KC’s weaknessess this week and turn in an outstanding fantasy performance.

Availability: Owned in ~65% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Start the Titans this week and expect them to perform like a top 10 fantasy defense.

Other Features

Fantasy Statistics
Training Room
Priority News
NFL Team Reports
Commentary From the Edge
Tunnel Vision
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